Dota 2 fans can look forward to 'beautiful experience' at ESL One Birmingham

The first major UK esports event starts on in Birmingham this week, with ESL One Birmingham live finals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Dota 2 event is significant moment for esports in the UK and the first of two majors to be held in England in 2018 - with the CSGO Faceit Major due to be staged in London in September.

For many fans, ESL One Birmingham will be a first taste of a major live esports event. We spoke to players and fans to get an idea of what the audience can expect and what hosting majors might mean for UK esports.

Bogdan Bugariu, Dota 2 fan

"I live in Timisoara, Romania. I've been to DH Bucharest 2014, 2015, 2016, ESL Frankfurt 2015-2016, DotaPit 3 & 4, the Belgrade Gaming Festival, The Kiev Major 2017 and PGL Open Bucharest."

Which has been your favourite and why?

"I think my favourite event was DH Bucharest 2004 because was first Major event that I attended and it was first time when I could meet my favourite Dota 2 team -Alliance."

Bogdan with Alliance

What are the great things about live events - why should esports fans who haven't been before try it?

"It's very hard to describe in words how beautiful the feeling is to be in same room with thousands of fans from entire world who love same game as you - even if some are cheering for a rival team.

"The chance to meet you favourite players, take a picture with them and even talk a bit with them. It's just an incredible experience. Everybody should attend a live event once - after that, you will go to first you will want at least one per year!"

What is your top tip for someone going to their first live Dota event?

"Grab your team jersey, your friends (it's always better with friends) and go there to support your team. When you are there, don't panic - go to your favourite team or player. Say 'Hi' take a picture and show to them your support. They are humans, they don't bite. More than that they will love to see your support."

Rime, UK Dota player

"It's nice to be surrounded by people who have the same passion for the game you're there to watch, and to see people who you've played with in pubs and things play on a big stage and see that it's still the same Dota, just with a big arena and lots more lights.

"After going to a few live Dota events you find the community's way larger than you thought, and to see that here in the UK would be nice after a long time of not much going on.

"I'm not sure that tournaments like this will help the local competitive scene but that's OK. Maybe there'll be some more attention from sponsors in a kind of 'build it and they will come' boost to the scene. And maybe recognition of the local player base would be nice, too."

Sujoy Roy, former pro gamer and Director of Esports at Luckbox

What makes watching esports at a live event so great?

"I grew up with esports and always knew one day it would be big, but hearing the roar of a crowd cheering on their team is a life-changing moment for those of us who love the industry.

"It's one thing to see people talking online in a live stream, but being there in person with a huge audience makes it feel so much more real.

"When you're watching esports in an arena it's a wonderful feeling to talk about the game with fellow spectators and ride the roller coaster of emotions alongside thousands of people in the stands."

How important is it for the UK to host majors like this?

"Watching an esports event has traditionally been an online experience so many UK Dota fans won't have had the chance to share their love of the game in a social venue. I think they're going to be blown away by the atmosphere in Arena Birmingham this weekend.

Get right into the spirit of the event because there's no better way to watch the action

"We've only had a handful of huge arena events in esports over here so this Dota 2 Major in Birmingham is a big deal. More than that, the fact that tickets sold out so quickly shows that UK fans have an appetite for more.

"With any luck we'll start seeing a regular calendar of Arena-sized esports events in the UK."

What's your advice for fans attending ESL One Birmingham?

"This is your opportunity to unashamedly show your love for esports with a whole arena of fellow fans, so go wild with it and have some fun!

"Remember everyone in the venue is a Dota fan just like you. Start a conversation with the person next to you. Cheer for your favourite teams. Get right into the spirit of the event because there's no better way to watch the action."

Lauren Shuckburgh, League of Legends fan and PR and Marketing Manager at Noxcrew.

"I attended the League of Legends World's quarter finals in London 2015, and then later during the same tournament I travelled to Berlin to watch the final. Last month I flew to Copenhagen to watch Fnatic (the team I support) in the Spring Split finals."

Which has been your favourite live event?

"My favourite event was my most recent trip to Copenhagen. I decided to book it very last minute when Fnatic made it to the finals and the spontaneity of the trip made it all the more exciting!


"Watching Fnatic kick G2's off their throne was the icing on the cake, of course - the rivalry between the two organisations (and therefore the fans) made for a really intense final and the whole arena was on edge at every moment."

What are the great things about live events?

"Watching esports live is so different to watching it at home. For me, being surrounded by other fans and having people around to share the excitement with is what makes going to events worthwhile.

Taking the leap from behind your PC to share your gaming experience with others makes you really feel a part of a community

"Online gaming can be sociable in the way that you are a part of a team and communicating with people from across the world, but in reality it's isolating to spent your time behind a screen, and that's how most people watch esports.

"Taking the leap from behind your PC to share your gaming experience with others makes you really feel a part of a community, the same way attending a music event does. It makes it more real! Also, bonus: it's an excuse to explore the world."

What's your advice for fans attending a live event for the first time

"My top tip for someone going to their first event is to look out for other people wearing esports gear and talk to them! I've met some awesome people on trips (e.g. boarding my flight to Berlin) who were wearing team hats or shirts and we've just struck up a conversation knowing that we have the same interests.

"From my experiences, a lot of people travel alone or in small groups to new countries just to follow their team and you can all help each other get around.

"I helped a fellow Fnatic fan who was travelling alone to buy a train ticket last time around. I'm still in touch with some of the people I've met at events and we plan to meet up again at others."

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